The Movie Waffler 1001 Overlooked Movies - Some Came Running (1958) | The Movie Waffler

1001 Overlooked Movies - Some Came Running (1958)

Sinatra is a soldier who returns to his home town and falls for a local teacher, Hyer.  Following him is goodtime girl MacLaine who isn't planning on letting him go without a fight.

Directed by: Vincente Minnelli
Starring: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine, Martha Hyer, Arthur Kennedy, Nancy Gates, Leora Dana

Not just one of Minnelli's best but one of Hollywood's greatest movies of any era, 'Some Came Running' is unjustly forgotten. It features a career best performance from Sinatra, playing on his surly persona to great effect as the returning soldier and failed writer. Hyer wants him to return to writing but he has no interest, not as confident in his talent as the sycophants of his town. She doesn't desire him as the man he is, rather the man she naively dreams he could be. MacLaine on the other hand can't fulfill him intellectually but is in love with him just as he is. The moment of revelation comes when he cross-examines her about why she liked one of his stories. She replies that she may not have understood it but enjoyed it because it came from him. Sinatra suddenly realizes that finally he has someone who respects him for himself and not some perceived potential. 
There's a dark shadow looming in the shape of Steve Peck, a drunkard who has eyes for MacLaine and wants vengeance for a humiliation at the hands of Sinatra. In the movie's most famous scene, a chase at a fairground, Peck is first seen lit by red neon in an alley, recalling a fantasy scene from one of Minnelli's musicals. He steps out of this movie world and begins his pursuit of Sinatra. Where 'Two Weeks In Another Town' features a character who wants to escape reality for the world of fiction, Sinatra aims for the exact opposite here. He wants to escape his past as a writer and etch out some sort of life in the real world. Fitting then that Peck should seem to step out of a fantasy world to throw a spanner (or a bullet) in the works.
Elmer Bernstein provides a bombastic score, like a nightmarish Saturday night in a forties roadhouse. William Daniels' widescreen framing is the perfect accompaniment to the skillful staging of Minnelli. The scene where Sinatra seduces Hyer features a surreal twist on the usual romantic lighting of such scenes, turning the characters into silhouettes, a foreboding premonition of how this relationship will pan out.
German magazine "Der Spiegel" rated this as the greatest movie of all time. I wouldn't go that far but it's certainly in the mix, the pinnacle of the fifties melodrama.

The official '1001 Movies' list includes the following movies from 1958 - Man of the West, Touch of Evil, Cairo Station, Gigi, The Defiant Ones, Vertigo, Ashes and Diamonds, Horror of Dracula, Mon Oncle, The Music Room

Eric Hillis